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Hogan was right to veto $15 minimum wage

Members of the SEIU 1199 union demonstrate outside the State House in Annapolis on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, urging lawmakers to pass a bill gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Members of the SEIU 1199 union demonstrate outside the State House in Annapolis on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, urging lawmakers to pass a bill gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour. (Pamela Wood / Baltimore Sun)

I would like to commend Gov. Larry Hogan on his veto of the $15 minimum wage, on the basis that it is too much too soon (“Maryland General Assembly overrides Gov. Hogan's vetoes of $15 minimum wage, comptroller's oversight,” Mar. 28).

Our neighboring state of Virginia is keeping the $7.25 minimum wage and for their next-door neighbor Maryland to have a minimum wage that is double that is unhealthy. There is also another more basic reason why this would be unwise. Let's consider those hourly employees who started at their jobs two, three, or four years ago at minimum wage and have received nominal raises each year (say by a dollar for argument’s sake). Those folks are now making $8, $9, and $10 an hour. And what about employees who started even longer ago and are now making $12, $13, or $15 an hour?

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Can we in good conscience make those long-term employees now take the same pay as a new inexperienced hire, namely $15 an hour? Of course we cannot. Any employer with any sense of fairness and integrity will give all of those employees a substantial raise so that their pay reflects a substantially greater value than those new hires. All of those salary increases will substantially affect the company's cost of doing business, and prices for their product or service will rise accordingly. They have to, otherwise the company will cease to remain financially viable. So what have we now done? We have basically elevated nearly the entire employee salary structure for production workers, and inflated prices of the products and services.

The bottom line is we raised the minimum wage, and then raised the prices of things they need to buy. Have we accomplished anything other than substantial inflation? I think not. A nominal increase is in order, but not a huge jump. The unintended consequences will be substantial.

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Robert C. Rassa, Fallston

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